Navigation mit Access Keys

SLF HomeMountain ecosystems

Mountain ecosystems

Main menu

 

Not only are mountain ecosystems home to numerous animal and plant species, they also prevent avalanches and rockfalls, protect against soil erosion and attract visitors to Switzerland. We are researching these habitats to see how strongly they are reacting to climate change or new forms of land use.

 

The Alps cover around 60% of Switzerland. Their ecosystems provide habitats for many species of fauna and flora, but also serve mankind in many ways, for example helping to protect against avalanches and rockfalls or prevent soil erosion and snow slides. However, their contribution to a landscape that is considered aesthetically pleasing is a crucial factor for attracting tourists to mountain regions.

The main aspects of mountain forests - one of the most expansive types of Alpine ecosystem - we are investigating are: a) how they can best protect themselves against natural hazards today and in the future, and b) how the treeline is shifting. Our findings will form the bases of decisions made in forest management and natural hazard simulation programs. But we are also exploring habitats above the treeline, where we are especially interested in shifts in plant diversity brought on by climate change and what they mean for mountain ecosystems.

 

Topics

Das Bild zeigt den Blick von oben auf Andermatt  und den darüberliegenden Bannwald. Alle Berghänge sind schneebedeckt, nur direkt über dem Dorf kontrastiert der dunkle Schutzwald mit dem weissen Hintergrund.

Protection forest

We are investigating how forests can provide the most effective protection against natural hazards.

Ein Blick in das Dischmatal bei Davos. Im Vordergrund einige einzelstehende niedrige Bäume. Am gegenüberliegenden Hang hat es weiter unten noch geschlossene Waldflächen, während der obere Bereich baumfrei ist.

Mountain Forests and Forest Lines

SLF researchers are investigating the conditions causing the forest line to shift.

Das Bild fokussiert auf einen Felsen des Chörbschhorn bei Davos. In dem schiefrigen Gestein wachsen verschiedene Pflanzen, Flechten und Moose.

Plant ecology and biodiversity

We are investigating the interrelationships between climate change, snow and Alpine vegetation.

Das Bild zeigt einen Hang bei Oberiberg (SZ). Der obere Hangbereich ist bewaldet, im unteren Teil liegen Nutzwiesen. Unter dem Wald lassen sich an mehreren Stellen braune Rutschungen erkennen,  die nach unten breiter werden und teils bis zum besiedelten Hangfuss hinunterreichen. Die Rutschungen stammen von dem Unwetter am 20. Juni 2007.

Soil stability

Vegetation can stabilise the soil. We are investigating the impact of plants and their mycorrhizal fungi on soil stability.

 

New

The warmer climate in the Arctic tundra is changing the species composition, as shown by a study involving the SLF and WSL.

Spectacular outbreak of the larvae of the grey larch tortrix in Engadine and Valais: the trees look ill, but will recover within short time.

The Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) methodology provides decision makers with a fact base to answer these questions in a systematic way.

The plant In the foreground of the picture is the glacier buttercup or glacier crowfoot, which has around 30 white-and-yellow flowers and dark green leaves and grows on stony ground at high elevations. In the background you can see a partly snow-covered mountain range.

The stronger global warming is, the greater the increase in the number of plant species on mountain tops. This was the main finding of a study...